West Maui is home to numerous resorts and vacation rentals, as well as sprawling, untouched areas of wild island beauty, and receives a lot of visits from tourists and kama’aina (locals) alike. Dragon’s Teeth is one of the most northwest “must-see” sites that is still within the popular, high-trafficked and easy-to-access tourist areas (before the remote, extremely narrow and winding Kahekili Highway that carves an occasionally treacherous path across the uninhabited top section of the island.) Yet surprisingly, few people seem to know of its existence and, as a result, miss seeing it – despite the fact that it is located in the popular resort area of Kapalua!
Dragon’s Teeth, also called Makaluapuna Point, is a unique area that resembles something from another planet. An example of the amazing ancient volcanic forces at work, the area was aptly named Dragon’s Teeth because the rock structures look like large, terrifyingly jagged teeth. Located in Kapalua adjacent to the Ritz Carlton Hotel and sprawling golf course, Dragon’s Teeth is a sacred spot that was an ancient burial ground, with graves dating as far back as 610. Visitors are asked to respect the area while enjoying the natural beauty.
During the time period of ancient Hawaii when the West Maui Volcano (also known as Maui Komohana and Mauna Kahalawai) was active, molten lava flowed freely into the ocean where it was pushed back by strong ocean currents and winds. After being forced back ashore, it cooled into the stunning formations of Dragon’s Teeth. This was one of the last lava flows on the island, adding to the uniqueness of the sight. The frequent spray of salt water over the rocks over the years has bleached the color of the lava, so the originally black “dragon’s teeth” are now white.
There is a small parking lot at the end of Lower Honoapiilani Rd. Visitors can park here, and then walk along the edge of the golf course toward the ocean. Be sure to stay to the right of the signs separating the narrow walkway from the golf course.
I definitely recommend visiting Dragons Teeth in the late afternoon and then staying to watch the sunset over the Kapalua golf course! Sea turtles can often be spotted as they swim up around the rocks.
How to Get to Dragons Teeth (Makaluapauna Point):
Address: Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Kapalua, HI 96761
Directions: From Ka’anapali or Lahaina, take highway 30 (Honoapiilani Highway) north toward Kapalua. Turn left onto Office Road (just past mile marker #30). At the end of Office Road, turn right (Lowr Honoapiilani Rd) and park in the small parking lot. There is a narrow walkway along the edge of the golf course heading down to the rocky point jutting out into the ocean; this is Dragons Teeth.